Saturday, February 8, 2014

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 6.0 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes The Scotia Sea!

February 08, 2014 - SCOTIA SEA - Another strong earthquake has just struck the Scotia Sea region, between the furthest tip of South America and Antarctica.

USGS earthquake location.

Today's quake, which was registered by U.S. Geological Survey as a strong 6.0 magnitude on the Richter scale, jolted the South American region, and was felt as far away as Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands.

The quake was centred at 862 km (536 miles) southwest of Grytviken, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; 1503 km (934 miles) southeast of Ushuaia, Argentina; 1750 km (1087 miles) southeast of Punta Arenas, Chile; 1772 km (1101 miles) southeast of Rio Gallegos, Argentina; and 1245 km (774 miles) southeast of Stanley, Falkland Islands.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

The tremor had a depth of 18.3 km (11.3 miles) and the epicentre was located at 60.435°S 45.239°W.

The Pacific Tsunami Centre issued a bulletin stating that there was no threat of a destructive tsunami based on historical data.

Tectonic Summary
The USGS states that the region near the Scotia Sea in the southern Atlantic Ocean is a complex area of marginal basins bordered by the South America and Antarctic plates. The boundary motion between these two larger plates is predominately strike-slip. The South America-Antarctic plate motion is left lateral at about 15 mm/yr, with the Scotia Plate twisting between the two. There does not appear to be any north-south compression of the Scotia Plate. However, pure strike-slip earthquakes do not represent all the motion between the Scotia Sea and Antarctic plates. Partitioning occurs on one or both of the Scotia Sea boundaries. Modeled motions are consistent with the existence of a rigid Scotia Sea Plate.

USGS earthquake seismicity for the region.

Beyond the eastern end of the Scotia Sea plate, the Sandwich Plate is moving rapidly eastward, at rates from 65 to 90 mm/yr. This forms an eastern flank of the spreading system behind the South Sandwich Arc.

There are no land-based observations within the Scotia Sea or Sandwich plates to measure plate motion; all reported plate motions are derived from remote earthquake recordings.

ICE AGE NOW: Over Two-Thirds Of The Contiguous United States Covered With Snow - 4406 Record Cold Temperatures And 1073 Snowfall Records In January; Great Lakes Ice Cover Spreading Rapidly!

February 08, 2014 - UNITED STATES - Readers may recall our story from Dec 15th, 2013: Over half the USA covered in snow, the most in 11 years. Now, it’s even more.

Over Two-Thirds Of The Contiguous United States Covered With Snow.

See the map and the 3D image:

February 7, 2014
Area Covered By Snow:        67.4%
Area Covered Last Month:     48.1%

The map is from NOAA’s  National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center .

The 3D image is from this KMZ file and Google Earth:

UPDATE: Values of snow cover for this date show this is the highest in a decade.

February 7, 2014
Area Covered By Snow:    67.4%
February 7, 2013
Area Covered By Snow:    34.8%
February 7, 2012
Area Covered By Snow:    25.5%
February 7, 2011
Area Covered By Snow:    48.9%
February 7, 2010
Area Covered By Snow:    60.8%
February 7, 2009
Area Covered By Snow:    33.2%
February 7, 2008
Area Covered By Snow:    51.1%
February 7, 2007
Area Covered By Snow:    38.9%
February 7, 2006
Area Covered By Snow:    26.6%
February 7, 2005
Area Covered By Snow:    26.4%
February 7, 2004
Area Covered By Snow:    53.4%


Great Lakes Ice Cover Spreading Rapidly.
This breathtaking satellite image from NASA shows a broad view of Great Lakes ice.

Ice continued to build this past week on the Great Lakes due to the cold air and temperatures staying below freezing, and Lake Superior's new record shows it.

The lake is 92 percent frozen, toppling a 20-year-old record of 91 percent set on Feb. 5, 1994. That statistic helped total Great Lakes ice cover soar, and we can expect to see more form in coming days.

The air temperatures this past week averaged around five degrees below normal for the Great Lakes area. This amount of deviation from normal means it was a fairly cold week.

As of February 5, 2014, the entire Great Lakes system is now reportedly covered 77 percent with ice, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. Last week at this time the ice cover was 66 percent. The 77 percent ice cover now still lags behind 1994, when the entire Great Lakes system had an average ice cover of 84 percent on February 5. This data is according to Jia Wang, physical oceanographer at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Center in Ann Arbor, MI.

Let's look at each individual lake.

Lake Superior

Lake Superior is almost frozen over as of yesterday February 5, 2014. Lake Superior is 92 percent covered with ice now. The ice has increased rapidly in the past week, from 76 percent ice cover on January 30, 2014. The high resolution satellite picture from February 3, 2014 shows all of the ice cover on Lake Superior. The current ice cover on Lake Superior is the highest amount ever for February 5. In 1994, Lake Superior was reportedly 91 percent covered in ice.

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan is now 51 percent covered with ice, as opposed to 42 percent at this time last week. Coyotes were seen walking on the ice just offshore of Chicago this week. This makes us wonder if the lakes freeze over totally, will animals from Canada be able to cross over Lake Huron or Lake Superior, and enter Michigan. It is thought that this is how the last wolverine spotted in Michigan made it into Michigan. Lake Michigan has been covered with more ice on this date in the past. In 1977 and 1996, Lake Michigan was up to 74 percent ice covered.

Lake Huron

Ice cover on Lake Huron rocketed up an additional 14 percent this week, climbing to a total ice cover of 86 percent. If the ice continues to build at that rate in this next week, Lake Huron could be almost frozen over, or frozen over by the end of next week. People ice fishing are reporting 24 inches of ice on Saginaw Bay near Bay City. Lake Huron has been as much at 95 percent covered in ice on this date back in 1981 and 1994.

Lake Erie

Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes, with an average depth of 62 feet and a maximum depth of 210 feet. It also has the least volume of any Great Lake, with 116 cubic miles of water. So it should come as no surprise that Lake Erie currently has the highest percentage of ice cover. Lake Erie is 96 percent covered with ice. Last week at this time Lake Erie had 94 percent ice cover. Erie was entirely ice covered on February 5, 1996.

Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario is an interesting lake. It is the smallest Great Lake when it comes to surface area, but actually holds more than three times the amount of water when compared to Lake Erie. The average depth of Lake Ontario is 283 feet, making it the second deepest Great Lake behind Lake Superior. The deepest spot in Lake Ontario is 802 feet. The ice cover on Lake Ontario is the lowest of any of the Great Lakes, with only 32 percent covered in ice. Last week at this time, Lake Ontario had 27 percent ice cover. Lake Ontario has been covered with as much as 79 percent ice up to this point in the winter in 1994.

Will ice continue to grow?

The ice cover should continue to grow at a rapid rate based on temperatures expected in the next few weeks. You may not want to hear this, but I don't see several days in a row cracking the freezing mark until at least February 21. There could be a few hours above freezing late next week, but that won't slow the ice growth. Also, the weather pattern is going to be fairly quiet in the next two weeks. This means lower wind speeds around the Great Lakes, which should help accelerate ice cover growth.

It is going to be close, but we may be living in a historic winter with regards to amount of Great Lakes ice.

We will see some fascinating ice sculptures if we get a big wind that breaks the ice, and piles it up.

We will also be fascinated when the ice has melted, and we see spring. - MLIVE.

4406 Record Cold Temperatures And 1073 Snowfall Records In January.
4406 Record Cold Temperatures

1073 Snowfall Records

Courtesy of HAM Weather. See more HERE.

- Ice Age Now.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Global Volcano Report For February 8, 2014 - Terrifying Sinabung Volcano Eruption Spawns Amazing Towering Tornado-Like Twisters In Indonesia; Large Explosion At Kamchatka's Shiveluch Volcano; Increased Strombolian Activity And Lava Flow At Italy's Mount Etna; Summit Lava Lake Rises At Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano; Scientists Monitor Alaska's Shishaldin Volcano For Signs Of Eruption! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

February 08, 2014 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Sinabung (Indonesia): The Indonesian volcano Sinabung was dormant until pretty recently. In 2010 it kicked into action, but in January 2014, it switched to high gear, blasting out massive amounts of ash high into the atmosphere (see picture below). Then a lava dome collapse on Feb. 1 created a pyroclastic flow, a rapid wave of hot gas and rock that thundered downslope.

The Sinabung volcano started erupting violently again in January 2014. This shot, from Jan. 7, shows the
huge ash plume blasting into the sky.  Photo by Sutanta Aditya/AFP/Getty Images

These flows are incredibly dangerous (15 people were killed by Sinabung’s flows when they ventured inside the 5-kilometer exclusion zone) and are for my money one of the most terrifying events on Earth.

And now I find out they can create tornado-like vortices! And they’ve been caught on camera.

Towering twisters of ash spawned by a pyroclastic flow from a volcano explosion, because why not.
Photo by Photovolcanica, from the video

Now technically these aren’t tornadoes, even if they look like it. Tornadoes are when a funnel cloud is connected to the ground at its bottom and the base of a cumulonimbus cloud at its top. They form from the top down, dropping from the cloud base.

In this case, though, the phenomena are built from the ground up. The pyroclastic flow heats the air over the ground, causing it to rise. Air from the sides then rushes in to fill the partial vacuum. This creates swirls, eddies of turbulence, which can get amplified into the vortices seen in the video (and also in fire tornadoes which are also seriously a thing). This makes these events more like a dust devil than proper tornadoes. Or, I suppose, an ash devil. But still, yeesh.

WATCH:  Pyroclastic Flow followed by series of Tornadoes.

Sinabung’s eruption has been very dangerous and has caused the evacuation of over 30,000 people from nearby villages. When I saw the picture above of one of the eruptions, my instinct was to curl up into a tight little ball and scream into my own belly. Remember, that’s not just smoke you’re seeing; it’s vaporized rock, millions of tons of it! And it’s superheated to glowing, which can then flow downhill at hundreds of kilometers per hour, laying waste to whatever it touches.

Like I said, terrifying. Amazingly, though, volcanologists are getting better at predicting these. Magma moving underground can cause tremors that indicate an explosive eruption is imminent, allowing people to be evacuated. We can’t save everyone from volcanoes—they’re ubiquitous, and sometimes very close to dense population centers—but science is letting us understand what happens deep underground, which then informs us of what might happen closer to home.

There is a terrible beauty to volcano eruptions (much like hurricanes seen from space) that belies their destructive power. But one of the beauties of science is that it gives us the potential to save lives, and cut that threat down.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): A phase of intense activity has been taking place at the volcano over the past few days. On 6 Feb afternoon (or early morning 7 Feb in Kamchatka), a large eruption occurred. VAAC Tokyo spotted an ash plume drifting at approx. 27,000 ft (9 km) altitude more than 300 km northwest. The ash plume reached the Sea of Okhotsk and ash fall occurred in the village Sedanka at more than 200 km distance from the volcano.

Bright glow from the active lava dome of Shiveluch this morning

View of Shiveluch at the time of the eruption on 6 Feb - bright glow is visible, but cloud
cover doesn't allows further details

Unfortunately, webcam images do not allow to determine whether this eruption had been caused by an explosion liberating accumulated pressure, or whether a major collapse of the actively growing viscous lava dome had taken place, producing pyroclastic flows and related co-ignimbrite ash plumes. It is possible if not likely that it was the result of a combination of both.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): So far, the latest (still ongoing) eruptive episode has been significantly weaker than all previous ones. Explosive (strombolian) and effusive (lava flow) activity from the New SE crater (NSEC) increased yesterday afternoon, but then dropped almost completely later in the evening, and seems to have picked up, at least temporarily, a bit this morning again, but bad weather prevents detailed observations.

View of strombolian activity and the lava flow from Etna's NSEC last evening
Photo: Emanuela / VolcanoDiscovery Italia

The lava flow and strombolian activity at Etna's NSEC
(Monte Cagliato thermal webcam INGV Catania)

February 7, 2014: The lava flow and strombolian activity at the New SE crater have continued and activity has been increasing. The corresponding tremor signal is rising as well with a pronounced upwards trend over the past hours. It looks as if Etna is in for another paroxysm in the very near future.

Kilauea (Hawai'i): Per HVO, Kilauea's summit lava lake rose by 20m/66ft in the past week, just another 15m/49ft until it's visible from the Jaggar Overlook!

Halemaumau Thermal Image of Lava Lake on Feb 7, 2014

Shishaldin (Alaska): Scientists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory are going to be keeping a close eye on Shishaldin Volcano over the weekend.

An AVO webcam shows Shishaldin Volcano steaming on Jan. 28, 2014. /Credit: Janet Schaefer, AVO/USGS

The volcano emitted a small ash cloud that was identified early Friday morning. AVO geologist Chris Waythomas says the cloud drifted south of the volcano and dissipated.

"However, Shishaldin is a very frequently active volcano, and this could mean that we’re heading into an eruptive period," he says. "It may not necessarily, but it wouldn’t surprise us if the volcano started getting more active."

Shishaldin was upgraded to a yellow alert level last week after abnormal behavior began. Waythomas says this ash cloud seems to have come from a combination of magma close to the surface, and increased steaming and temperatures in the crater.

Some of the seismic monitoring stations that track Shishaldin are still out of order. Waythomas says they’re relying on two functioning stations to look for earthquakes inside the volcano and other changes that could foretell an eruption.

"It can be explosive, and it could put ash clouds up to flight levels," he says. "That would not be unusual for this volcano to do that."

Shishaldin’s eruption in 1999 sent ash plumes as high as 45,000 feet above sea level. It last erupted in 2004, and the last time it showed unrest like this was in 2009.

Shishaldin is the highest peak in the Aleutians. It’s also the world’s most symmetrical glacier-covered, conical volcano.

Waythomas says the two other yellow-alert volcanoes in the Aleutians -- Cleveland and Veniaminof -- are mostly quiet right now.

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for February 8, 2014.

SOURCES: Volcano Discovery | Slate | KUCB.

PROTESTS & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Chaos And Violent Protests Across Bosnia - 150 Injured, As People Demand Government Overhaul!

February 08, 2014 - BOSNIA - At least 150 people were injured, as protesters across the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia rebel against corruption, joblessness and political stagnation. Scuffles have reached the presidential residency, resulting in the use of water cannon.

Protesters burn documents from a government building in Tuzla February 7, 2014 (Reuters / Dado Ruvic)

Several major cities in the Balkan state are gripped by dissent, which started as a local unemployment rally and grew into a nationwide protest – the worst outburst of violence since the regional war ended back in 1995.

The unrest that blew up in the capital, Sarajevo, on Wednesday had quickly evolved by Friday into violent scuffles with law enforcement, and the setting of government buildings on fire. There were at least 105 injured by the end of the week, as police launched stun grenades and rubber bullets at angry egg and stone-throwing demonstrators.

With one in five people in the country living below the poverty line (by Reuters’ estimates), the numbers that took to the streets were great. Eyewitnesses reported on Friday that as many as 6,000 people were on the streets of the capital Sarajevo, which has a population of about 527,000. Two cars and a police cabin were set on fire, as the raging crowd was pushed back from the government residency with water cannon.

Tear gas and rubber bullets were also used in the course of those several days.

 In the town of Zenica, rioters successfully set fire to another government building, chanting "Revolution!" and "Thieves!" Around 3,000 people were on the streets, leaving a total of 55 people injured, 23 of them police officers, AFP reported.

But the most violent clashes are occurring in the northern city of Tuzla, where, as of Friday 11 more people were injured, following Thursday’s 130 people – mostly police. Factory closures led to a quick surge in anti-government sentiment.

Protesters throw rocks at a government building in Tuzla February 7, 2014 (Reuters / Dado Ruvic)

A protester stands near a fire set in front of a government building in Tuzla February 7, 2014. (Reuters / Dado Ruvic)

Another government building was set on fire, as several officials were seen escaping through the windows. The city is also suffering looting, with people emerging from municipal buildings and escaping with computers. There have also been attacks on supermarkets.

"I think this is a genuine Bosnian spring. We have nothing to lose. There will be more and more of us in the streets, there are around 550,000 unemployed people in Bosnia," as Reuters was told by Almir Arnaut, an unemployed economist and activist from Tuzla. Another, a construction worker, told AFP that “people are hungry.”

The rapidly escalating situation has led to the chiefs of the regional Tuzla and Zenica government resigning. The chaos is unprecedented, given the common view that Serbs, Bosnians and Croats would rather risk political stagnation than ever returning to the kind of violence they saw during the Bosnian War of 1992-95.

"This is so sad,” a woman standing by a burning government said. "It took four years of war to destroy it and vandals now burned it in one day. This is just as in 1992."

CHAOS in Bosnia: Tuzla Cantonal Building in on fire. Protestors chanting "We are on our way to Sarajevo."

Four Belgrade activists show support for people in Bosnia in centre of town. Sending their 'love to workers in BiH'.

Zenica, Bihac and Mostar are some of the other population centers that have witnessed clashes. However, peaceful rallies also occurred in support of unity among Bosnia’s ethnicities. In the Bosnian-Serb city of Banja Luka, 300 peaceful citizens came out to do just that.

"We are all citizens of Bosnia and we all have the same difficult lives here," Aleksandar Zolja, organizer and president of the non-governmental organization Helsinki Citizens' Assembly, said at the rally.

Some in Serbia's capital also stood in solidarity with the Bosnians.

The demonstrations began on Wednesday, the tipping point being controversial privatizations of key local industries, which since 2000 have resulted in eventual bankruptcies, leaving much of the working population unemployed.

Bosnia is now considered the poorest country in the whole of the former Yugoslavia.

 But as protests have spread, so the demands have broadened. The demonstrators are now asking not just for better economic conditions, but for an overhaul of the political system. This has led to a televised address by the Bosnian tripartite government presidency’s chairman, Zeljko Komsic. He asks for peace, while taking the blame as politician.

WATCH:  Protesters clash with police, set govt buildings ablaze in Bosnia.

"We are responsible for everything... Nothing good will come from anarchy," he appealed to the country, promising to hold an emergency meeting of the leadership. Prime Minister Nermin Niksic, who held the meeting on Thursday, has recognized the validity of the protesters’ complaints, but implored them to refrain from violence.

According to non-profit Transparency International, Bosnians experience more corruption than any other Balkan state.

A presidential election is scheduled for October. - RT.

ICE AGE NOW: Three Dead, 500 Injured As Heavy Snow Hits Japan - Heaviest Snowfall In Over Two Decades; More Than 40,000 Households Without Power; More Than 700 Flights Grounded; Over 3,000 Vehicle Accidents; More Snow In The Forecast! [VIDEOS]

February 08, 2014 - JAPAN - The heaviest snow in two decades struck Tokyo and other areas across Japan on Saturday, leaving three dead and nearly 500 others injured, reports said.

Japan Meteorological Agency issued the first heavy snowfall warning for central Tokyo in 13 years. (AP)

More than 740 flights were grounded as the weather agency issued a severe storm warning for the capital, while more than 40,000 households lost power.

As much as 22 centimetres (8.7 inches) of snow was recorded today in Tokyo, topping 20 centimetres for the first time since 1994, the meteorological agency and news reports said.

Two female passengers, aged 88 and 90, died today in a car accident on their way to a nursing home in Ishikawa, central Japan, NHK said. Police suspect one of the cars skidded on the icy road and caused the head-on clash.

A man was also killed in Nagano as a train smashed into his car at a railroad crossing, the broadcaster said, adding that 3,200 other accidents occurred across the nation caused by vehicles skidding in the icy conditions.

Public broadcaster NHK said at least 494 people were injured in snow-related accidents across the nation.

Further snowfall is expected Saturday night and early Sunday in Tokyo, the weather agency said.

The agency issued a heavy snow warning for the capital, the first such warning for the capital in 13 years, calling on residents not to go out unless necessary.

WATCH: Western Pacific Weather reports on the heavy snowfall in Japan.

The agency also warned of strong winds and high waves in eastern Japan as a rapidly developing low pressure front was heading toward eastern Japan, it said.

Japanese airline companies have cancelled 742 flights on Saturday due to heavy snow, NHK said, adding that more cancellations are expected on Sunday.

Airports in the western cities of Hiroshima and Kagawa were temporarily closed as operators were removing snow from the runways.

Television footage showed hundreds of passengers queueing for reimbursement or a change of flights at Tokyo’s Haneda airport with departure boards indicating the cancellation of many flights.

Employees were hurriedly removing snow from the pavement in front of their shops and restaurants in Tokyo’s bustling Ginza district.

Railway operators temporarily suspended services of Shinkansen bullet trains in western Japan, affecting more than 100,000 passengers, news reports said. - Indian Express.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Deadly Bus Crash In Argentina - 18 Passengers Killed; 15 Wounded!

February 08, 2014 - ARGENTINA - At least 18 people were killed on an Argentine highway on Friday when a truck driving on the wrong side of the road crashed head-on into a bus, local authorities said.

Firefighters put out the fire of a wrecked bus that collided head on
with a truck near San Martin, Argentina.
Photo: AP

Both vehicles immediately burst into flames, leaving twisted metal remains, television images showed. Firefighters were still working on retrieving the charred bodies for identification.

The collision, which early reports indicated left 15 people wounded, occurred in western Mendoza province, on a highway that links Buenos Aires with Santiago in neighbouring Chile.

Fire engulfs both vehicles as truck travelling on the wrong side of the road on route linking Buenos Aires
to Santiago collides with bus, killing both drivers and multiple passengers. Photo: AP

Majority of the victims, including the bus driver, died as the bus and the lorry exploded into flames when it crashed. A number of passengers made frantic attempts to escape the flames, leaping off the vehicle’s windows. Photo: AP

"The bus was hit head-on by a truck with apparently stolen plates of Brazilian origin," Mendoza's health minister, Matias Roby, told a local news channel, calling the incident "heartbreaking."

There were 32 people on the bus, he told the station, including two drivers who were both killed. - Telegraph.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: "Not The Type Of Clouds That We Are Used To Seeing On Earth" - Astronomers Discover New Brown Dwarf, Except This One Is RED!

February 08, 2014 - SPACE - Astronomers in Britain report they've discovered a peculiar example of a celestial body known as a brown dwarf, one with unusually red skies.

An artist’s impression of ULAS J222711-004547. This newly discovered brown dwarf is characterized by an
unusually thick layer of clouds, made of mineral dust. These thick clouds give ULAS J222711-004547 its
extremely red colour, distinguishing it from “normal” brown dwarfs. Credit: Neil J Cook,
Centre for Astrophysics Research, University of Hertfordshire.

The brown dwarf, named ULAS J222711-004547, caught the attention of astronomers at the University of Hertfordshire for its extremely red appearance compared to "normal" brown dwarfs.

They report analysis showed the reason for its peculiar color is the presence of a very thick layer of clouds in its upper atmosphere.

"These are not the type of clouds that we are used to seeing on Earth," research leader Federico Marocco said. "The thick clouds on this particular brown dwarf are mostly made of mineral dust, like enstatite and corundum."

Brown dwarfs, falling between stars and planets, are too big to be considered planets yet do not have sufficient material to fuse hydrogen in their cores to fully develop into stars. Sometimes described as failed stars, they are cold and very faint.

The giant planets of the solar system, like Jupiter and Saturn, show various cloud layers including ammonia and hydrogen sulphide as well as water vapor. The atmosphere observed in this reddish brown dwarf is hotter, the researchers said, with water vapor, methane and probably some ammonia but, unusually, dominated by clay-sized mineral particles.

Understanding how such an extreme atmosphere works will help improve understanding of the range of atmospheres that can exist, university researcher Avril Day-Jones said.

"By studying the composition and variability in luminosity and colors of objects like this, we can understand how the weather works on brown dwarfs and how it links to other giant planets," she said. - UPI.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Infrastructure & Societal Collapse - Argentine Banking System Archives Suspiciously Destroyed By Deadly Fire; Killing 9 People!

February 08, 2014 - ARGENTINA - While we are sure it is a very sad coincidence, on the day when Argentina decrees limits on the FX positions banks can hold and the Argentine Central Bank's reserves accounting is questioned publically, a massive fire - killing 9 people - has destroyed a warehouse archiving banking system documents.

As The Washington Post reports, the fire at the Iron Mountain warehouse (which purportedly had multiple protections against fire, including advanced systems that can detect and quench flames without damaging important documents) took hours to control and the sprawling building appeared to be ruined. The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately clear - though we suggest smelling Fernandez' hands...

We noted yesterday that there are major questions over Argentina's reserve honesty...
While first print is preliminary and subject to revision, the size of recent discrepancies have no precedent. This suggest that the government may be attempting to manage expectations by temporarily fudging the "estimate " of reserve numbers (first print) while not compromising "actual" final reported numbers. If this is so, it is a dangerous game to play and one likely to back-fire.

During a balance of payments crisis - as Argentina is undergoing - such manipulation of official statistics (and one so critical for market sentiment) is detrimental to the needed confidence building around the transition in the FX regime.
And today the government decrees limits on FX holdings for the banks...
Argentina’s central bank published resolution late yday on website limiting fx position for banks to 30% of assets.

Banks will have to limit FX futures contracts to 10% of assets: resolution

Banks must comply with resolution by April 30
And then this happens...

Via WaPo,
Nine first-responders were killed, seven others injured and two were missing as they battled a fire of unknown origin that destroyed an archive of bank documents in Argentina’s capital on Wednesday.

The fire at the Iron Mountain warehouse took hours to control...

The destroyed archives included documents stored for Argentina’s banking industry, said Buenos Aires security minister Guillermo Montenegro.

The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately clear.

Boston-based Iron Mountain manages, stores and protects information for more than 156,000 companies and organizations in 36 countries. Its Argentina subsidiary advertises that its facilities have multiple protections against fire, including advanced systems that can detect and quench flames without damaging important documents.


“There are cameras in the area, and these videos will be added to the judicial investigation, to clear up the motive of the fire and collapse,” Montenegro told the Diarios y Noticias agency.
- Zero Hedge.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Meteor Seen Streaking Across The Skies Over Charlottetown, Canada!

February 08, 2014 - CANADA - It wasn't a bird, or a plane, or Superman that streaked across the skies of Charlottetown last Friday night, but it was the colour of kryptonite and it was from out of this world.

Megan Glover said the meteor was likely made up mostly of nickel, which explains the green colour.
(Courtesy of Greg Tingman)

Greg Tingman spotted the green light streaking across the sky behind the Charlottetown Mall Friday.

"I was kind of excited that I had my camera on. It was pointed in the right direction. We were on a road with a bit of an upward incline so definitely all good timing," he said.

He shot the above video on his car's dashboard camera - a camera he only received at Christmas time after seeing a massive meteor hit Russia last February.

"Saw that on the news and YouTube and thought it might be neat to have my own camera so my daughter bought it for me for Christmas," he said.

Tingman just didn't expect to capture a meteor so soon, if at all.

"Certainly, you know, how often are you going to come across a meteor maybe a few times in a lifetime and be lucky enough to have a camera so it was just kind of a coincidence," he said.

WATCH: Greg Tingman spotted green light streaking across sky behind Charlottetown Mall Friday.

It may have been a coincidence but Megan Glover, an instructor and technician in the physics department at UPEI, said small meteors like the one Tingman shot are not uncommon.

"The larger scale ones that are really fabulous to see and potentially dangerous are fortunately less frequent," she said.

Glover said it's unlikely the meteor caught on camera landed on earth.

"It takes a fairly large meteor to leave any fragments behind which we then call meteorites so this is probably one that mostly burnt up," she said.

Glover said the meteor was likely made up mostly of nickel, which explains the green colour. - CBC.

RATTLE & HUM: Loud And Mysterious Boom Heard Over Groningen, In The Netherlands?!

February 08, 2014 - THE NETHERLANDS - This week, the province of Groningen felt what was thought to be another earthquake, but this was tuesday evening confirmed more likely to be a sonic boom.

The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) confirmed no activity was seen on a seismograph, but the institute did record a bang in the atmosphere to the north of Ameland, a spokesperson says.

A little after 10 on Tuesday evening, Twitter blew up with messages about the earthquake. People also called the media with the report. The messages claimed it was a big one, too.

Most of the tremors were felt in a relatively small area, but reports also came from Drenthe and south-east Friesland. Richard van Dijk, a resident from Loppersum, where earthquakes are frequently experienced from the fracking by NAM in the area, reported that the front of his house was sinking.

On Twitter, residents from Ulrum, Middelstum and Loppersom said they felt tremors. People living further away like Groningen, Assen and Haulerwijk, reportedly felt "quakes".

Expert Theo Jurriens from the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen expects that it was not a meteor, because there were no messages from eye witnesses. "Then it would have been a big one, and that we would have seen", he said around midnight. According to the NOS, the KNMI will still investigate this possibility.

"Possibly, it was a jet passing through the sound barrier", Theo says.

Defense claims no responsibility for the bang. "But it is not clear. It could be an aircraft from another country that was flying above the North Sea" Jurriens says.

In 1992, the bang of a jet was heard, but nothing was seen, and even the church got damaged. - NL Times.